Thursday, July 3, 2014

Problem: Deer >>> Deterants

Deer me! Are the deer making too many trips to your all-you-can-eat salad bar? Continue serving all organic; just change the menu, lots of herbs and spices. Be cagey and put tempting treats out of reach. Learn to live with deer and you will enjoy seeing their graceful forms rather than stress out every time you see them.

There are so many lists of plants that deer don't prefer: lists of perennials, annuals, shrubs, and trees; lists by region put out by universities; and lists that give degree of resistance. I plant things almost exclusively off the lists in my backyard where, during certain seasons, it's practically a super highway for deer in and out of the woods. They'll take a nibble now and again but they don't linger. I don't have to worry.  The lists are extensive, too.
They include many plants with strong, spicy scents like monarda, mums, daisies, sweet woodruff, ferns and many herbs. Attracts Monarch Butterflies
Plants with milky white sap like  euphorbias,  milkweed,. balloon flower and vinca are not only unappetizing but can be poisonous to animals and people. Numerous plants used in medicines such as pulmonaria and digitalis are also poisonous to animals, as are most of the plants that have a common name ending in bane like fleabane, dogbane, and leopard's bane.
There are so many choices for your deer resistant garden.

What about all of the plants you adore that happen to be deer favorites too? Be smart about the locations you choose for these specimens.
Put them in protected areas, low traffic areas or even right out in gardens that the deer frequent as long as you protect them. People often invest great sums of money on sprays in hopes of making their prize hostas unappealing but this takes diligence and persistence. Any lapse in the applications, rain or watering can leave plants vulnerable. I prefer to have just a few of these tasty treats in my backyard gardens. I protect them within more substantial means.
Some I enclose in chicken wire if they're not front and center in the garden.
For those jewels that are focal points I use interesting, even whimsical structures such as bird cages,
large wire baskets,
or even decorative items that add a structural element to the garden.

For annuals hanging baskets are a great solution for keeping things out of reach and  off the radar of deer. It takes some planning and creativity to coexist peacefully with deer but it's worth it. It's so much less stressful and enjoyable when you're not at war in the garden. There are plenty of other challenges to keep us busy.

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